Education continuity ‘hangs by a thread’ with burned out teachers, group warns

Published April 29, 2021, 11:00 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

The continuity of education in the country amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) situation is hanging in the balance with teachers complaining of burnout, an organization of education workers warned.

Teachers are also tasked to prepare printed modules to be distributed to students. (JANSEN ROMERO / MANILA BULLETIN)

“Judging from the labor situation of public school teachers, education continuity amid the pandemic apparently hangs by a thread,” the Alliance of Concerned Teachers Philippines (ACT) said on Thursday, April 29.

“Without urgent and necessary government interventions, education continuity could suffer as more teachers fall ill due to dire labor conditions, while not a few leave the teaching profession,” the group added.

To ensure the delivery of education amid the pandemic, ACT proposed measures to the Department of Education (DepEd) and the government to uphold and protect teachers’ rights and welfare.

The group urged the government to grant teachers of “due compensation and benefits.”

In particular, ACT pointed out that the service credit and 25 percent overtime pay for the 77 overtime days in the current school year should be granted to teachers.

ACT is also calling for the immediate release of the “overly-delayed” 2019 Performance-based Bonus (PBB) and hazard pay for community-based activities.

The group also reiterated its call to the Legislation for salary upgrading for teachers and education support personnel: Salary Grade (SG) 15 for Teacher 1; SG 16 for Instructor 1; and P16,000 monthly salary for SG 1 employees.

To help address the distance learning need of teachers, ACT is also proposing the allocation of a supplemental budget.

Teachers must also be given laptops and P1,500 monthly internet allowance while gadgets and internet subsidy should be provided to the poorest five percent of learners.

Under distance learning, some teachers are teaching lessons through online classes. (MANNY LLANES / MANILA BULLETIN)

ACT said that P35 billion should also be allotted for module printing while P14.69 billion should be available for the preparation of limited in-classroom learning in low-risk areas.

Most of all, ACT underscored the need to ease workload of teachers and provide them with health and wellness support.

ACT urged DepEd to halt the implementation of Learning Delivery Modalities (LDM) course modules as well as the suspension of the implementation of the Results-based Management System.

The reports and paper works of teachers, ACT said, should also be reduced.

Moreover, teachers should be given 80 days proportional vacation pay and 15 days sick leave benefits.

On top of setting up a medical fund for free treatment, extensive and comprehensive mental health support programs should also be made available for teachers.

To assess the labor situation of education front liners during the first half school year (SY) 2020-2021, ACT conducted an online survey among 6,731 public school teachers from March 29 to April 11.

Results of the said survey revealed that signs of “teacher burnout” are evident based on the responses gathered.